It is understood he appeared to be well after Wednesday night’s game but suffered an asthma attack that night and was rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where he died.
Local councillor and former Kilmallock and Limerick hurler Mike Houlihan said the news has had “a numbing effect” on the entire parish.
“It is devastating. He was a lovely young lad and was always up and down the street with a hurley in his hand or behind the goal collecting the sliotars. I don’t know how we are going to tell the other young lads. It’s just devastating,” he said.
James had just finished first year at Coláiste Iosaef Secondary School in Kilmallock where principal Sean Twomey recalled his “roguish charm”.
“James was an outgoing, bubbly student and you couldn’t miss him around the school corridors with his distinctive red hair and roguish charm,” said Mr Twomey.
“He was popular with students and staff and will be really missed.
“James was a good student who participated in everything, he played hurling and was also a member of the first-year soccer team that won the North Munster title this year
“He has two sisters, Sarah in transition year and Kate who has just finished her Leaving Cert, and our hearts go out to them.”